• January 4, 2019

    Karamo Brown

    Queer Eye star Karamo Brown is writing a memoir, which will be published by Gallery Books in March. In Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope, Brown will detail his life story, from his upbringing in the South to his television career, as well as his unique outlooks on life, culture, and connection. “When Karamo Brown first auditioned for the casting directors of Netflix’s Queer Eye, he knew he wouldn’t win the role of culture expert by discussing art and theater,” the book’s synopsis explains. “Instead he decided to redefine what ‘culture’ could — and should — mean for the show. He took a risk and declared, ‘I am culture.’”

    The New York Times’s “By the Book” column talks to An Orchestra of Minorities author Chigozie Obioma about language, the difference between revenge and justice, and how to read others’ books while working on your own.

    Fortune reports on the first hearing in the murder trial of Jamal Khashoggi.

    At Literary Hub, Mateo Askaripour considers why few black writers “manage to achieve the longevity they deserve” and wonders how best to expand this narrow canon. “The sea in which we’re swimming wasn’t made for us,” he writes. “But the tide is changing, and we press on.”

    Susan Scarf Merrell reflects on the legacy of novelist Iris Murdoch.

    Former Waitrose Food editor William Sitwell, who was fired from the magazine for what he calls an “ill-judged joke” about “killing vegans,” has been hired as a restaurant critic for The Telegraph.

  • January 3, 2019

    Jorge Luis Borges

    At the Columbia Journalism Review, Robert P. Baird reports on Jacobin magazine, the socialist print publication that has gained a sizable following since its launch in 2010. Baird talks to Jacobin’s founding editor and publisher, Bhaskar Sunkara, and tracks the magazine’s unlikely rise. As one Sunkara’s debate opponents put it, Sunkara “started a magazine that’s got 38,000 subscribers! He bought a magazine in Britain! He’s the wunderkind of socialism!”

    On the New Yorker fiction podcast, Orhan Pamuk reads Jorge Luis Borges.

    Emma Best reports on the 1976 FBI investigation of the Village Voice for espionage, after the paper published the Pike Committee Report.   

    McNally Jackson Books in New York City is reportedly going to stay in its Prince Street home.The “books you should read” lists for 2019 are beginning to come out. Literary Hub recommends “13 Books You Should Read This January, ” Nylon has its “Best Books to Read in 2019,” and Book Riot offers a list of the “Most Anticipated 2019 LGBTQ Reads.”

  • January 2, 2019

    At The Atlantic, Derek Thompson looks at worrying trends in the media business, noting four in particular: there are “too many players,” a lack of “saviors,” no “clear playbook” for how to move forward, and publications are stuck with “patrons with varying levels of beneficence.” What’s next? According to Thompson, one clue comes from looking back to the early-nineteenth century “party press era,” a time of flush partisan patrons funding the news: “Journalism could be more political again, but also more engaging.”  

    Sloane Crosley writes about what Hollywood gets wrong about publishing. But, as she observes, being wrong is not always a bad thing: “Happily, once realism has been pulped like the first print run of a fraudulent memoir, the fun can begin.”

    Sally Rooney. Photo: Jonny L. Davies.

    In the New Yorker, Lauren Collins profiles Sally Rooney, the Irish novelist whose next book, Normal People, is one of the most anticipated books of 2019. Collins explains part of Rooney’s appeal: “The quality of thought eliminates the need for pen-twirling rhetorical flourishes. Rooney’s most devastating lines are often her most affectless.”    

    Literary Hub rounds up the seventy-five best book covers of the year, polling art designers on what worked. Which book was their favorite? It’s a tie between Nico Walker’s Cherry (designed by Janet Hansen for Knopf) and Melissa Broder’s The Pisces (designed by Rachel Willey for Hogarth). Unsurprisingly, New Directions gets a special mention: They have 11 books on the list, the most of any press.   

    At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Felix Bernstein interviews Jarrett Earnest, the author of What It Means to Write About Art: Interviews With Art Critics.

  • December 28, 2018

    At Poynter, Daniel Funke writes about his yearlong odyssey into reporting on trolls, fake news, and other forms of insidious misinformation. One big lesson: “Misinformation is a constantly evolving phenomenon that knows no bounds when it comes to format, platform, message and creator. It exists in pretty much every context on Earth.”  

    At Folio, ten creative directors pick their favorite magazine covers of the year, including Marilyn Minter’s cover shot of Lady Gaga for the New York Times Magazine, Time magazine’s fold-out cover for their “Guns in America” story, and New York magazine’s Stormy Daniels cover, shot by  Amanda Demme.

    Many long-running magazines closed in 2018, including the Village Voice, Interview, and Tin House. Hmm Daily has the full rundown in “The Year in Dead Publications.”

    Vol. 1 Brooklyn has a list of the best fiction of the year. They’ve included some of the consensus picks (The Largess of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson, Severance by Ling Ma), and some lesser-known titles worth investigating, such as Roque Larraquy’s Comemadre and Ondjaki’s Transparent City.

    On the National Book Critics Circle Critical Mass blog, Jonathan Leal revisits Italo Calvino’s novel If on a winter’s night a traveller, recommending it as one of the great books about books.

  • December 27, 2018

    As their long-running advice column “Dear Sugar” comes to an end, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond reflect on the art of giving and receiving advice. “After much reflection we have decided that it’s time to shift our focus to other creative endeavors — namely, our next books,” Strayed explains of the decision. Almond reflected on why the two started the project in the first place. “The design flaw in most advice columns, I felt, was that their authors took themselves too seriously,” he remembered. “I realized the flaw in my approach, which is that people write to advice columnists because they want to be taken seriously. They want permission to feel what they’re feeling, not a set of instructions for self-improvement.”

    Jenny Xie. Photo: Teresa Mathew

    Hanif Abdurraqib, Jenny Xie, Tommy Pico, and many more poets recommend their favorite poetry books of 2018.

    Columbia Journalism Review rounds up the biggest media stories of 2018.

    At the New Republic, staff writers Josephine Livingstone and Jeet Heer consider the art of criticism, and what critics should do when they change their mind about a work they’ve reviewed.

    Wired’s Craig Mod looks at the past, present, and future of e-books, which remain popular despite the fact that they “look, feel, and function almost identically to digital books of 10 years ago.”

  • December 26, 2018

    Ursula K. Le Guin

    Jeff Jarvis rounds up the German media’s reactions to recent revelations that Der Spiegel reporter Claas Relotius had fabricated numerous articles. “The Spiegel affair cuts deeper into our presumptions and makes us ask whether our compulsion to make news compelling (yes, entertaining) leads us astray,” he writes.

    The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan reflects on the best and worst of American journalism over the past year.

    The New York Times lists the books that, despite not making the paper’s “100 Notables” or “10 Best” lists, are still “worthy of attention.”

    How to Write an Autobiographical Novel author Alexander Chee records a week of culinary adventures for Grub Street’s “Food Diaries.”

    Publishers Weekly looks at Archipelago Books’s fifteen-year “struggle” and how the small press found success in publishing the English translations of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series.

    LitHub remembers the many authors that died in 2018, including Ursula K. Le Guin, Philip Roth, Tom Wolfe, and more. “Here, at the end of a very complicated and very confusing year, we remember some of those great writers, editors, and literary advocates—with the sure knowledge that this tribute will not be their last,” they write.

  • December 21, 2018

    Zadie Smith

    Zadie Smith is working on a short story collection. Grand Union, which includes ten new stories and ten previously published pieces, will be published by Hamish Hamilton in the UK next fall.

    Reporter Maya Kosoff is leaving Vanity Fair.

    The New York Times offers a reading list for viewers of Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel, If Beale Street Could Talk.

    Director Lars Jan talks to LitHub about 1968, Joan Didion, and his stage adaptation of The White Album.

    After two residents of Fergus Falls, Minnesota pointed out eleven of the “most absurd lies” in a Der Spiegel feature on the town, “Where They Pray for Trump on Sundays” author Claas Relotius has been fired from the paper for fabricating over a dozen articles. “In 7,300 words he really only got our town’s population and average annual temperature correct,” Michele Anderson and Jake Krohn write. “We hope that our version of this story makes you think twice the next time you read an article claiming some kind of intellectual authority over rural identity, and that you’ll come and see for yourself what Fergus Falls is all about (we don’t mind a little tourism boost every now and then).”

  • December 20, 2018

    Celeste Ng. Photo: Kevin Day

    Celeste Ng talks to the Times Literary Supplement about writing tics, favorite books, and how the work of women authors has been underappreciated for too long. “For hundreds of years, the work of women – and particularly women of colour – has been dismissed as trivial, domestic, or just generally ‘less’ than that of men,” she says. “I think we’re starting to realize how powerful – and needed – those voices actually are.”

    LitHub and Book Marks collect the best reviewed books of 2018. Top picks include Ling Ma’s Severance, Zadie Smith’s Feel Free, Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room, and more.

    Gallery Books is publishing Olivia Newton-John’s memoir Don’t Stop Believin’ next March.

    Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy says that 2018 was the company’s most successful year ever.

    The Times looks at the near-daily media coverage of Walt Whitman’s impending death, which started four months before his actual death in March 1892.


  • December 19, 2018

    New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul addresses the controversy over Alice Walker’s recent “By the Book” interview, in which the author said she was currently reading a book by anti-Semitic writer David Icke. “When we interview anyone, whether it’s a public official or a foreign leader or an artist, The Times isn’t saying that we approve of the person’s views and actions,” Paul said. “We’ve also faced criticism when a writer only named white authors, or male authors. My response to that is the same as in this case: Does that answer tell you something about the subject? I think it does, and now readers know it because we’ve informed you.”

    “Darin Webb, the bookkeeper who stole more than $3.4 million over eight years from venerable New York literary agency Donadio & Olson, was sentenced to two years in prison on Monday,” Publishers Weekly reports.

    Richard Powers

    An Amnesty International report highlights “the breadth and depth of toxicity on Twitter,” a problem they say is particularly likely to inhibit women from “freely expressing themselves on the platform.”

    Politico owner Robert Allbritton talks to Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo about digital media, politics since 2016, and the magazine’s plans for expansion.

    The Law360 editorial union has unanimously voted to accept a new contract that offers an across-the-board 22 percent salary increase, along with guaranteed sick days, bereavement leave, and more. “Our newsroom has come together in a way we never thought possible,” the group wrote in a statement. “We finally have a voice in our newsroom and it is loud!”

    The Guardian’s Sam Jordison wonders why so many people consider Richard Powers’s The Overstory one of the best books of the year. “There’s plenty to appreciate if you’re predisposed to liking books and disliking the idea of environmental apocalypse,” he admits, but feels that the “undemanding” nature of the book is ultimately unsatisfying. “There’s nothing beyond the page, nothing that Powers doesn’t spell out slowly for us.”

  • December 18, 2018

    Former House Speaker John Boehner is working on a memoir, Politico reports. Notes From a Smoke-Filled Room will cover Boehner’s Washington career and harkens back to “a bygone era when bipartisan deals were negotiated by party leaders behind closed doors rather than in front of the cameras and on Twitter—and when a politician’s habit for enjoying one too many glasses of expensive Merlot was indulged not excoriated.” The book will be published by Thomas Dunne Books in 2020.

    Jessica Hopper. Photo: David Sampson

    Merriam-Webster has chosen justice as their word of the year for 2018.

    “Young me kind of put the screws to old me,” Jessica Hopper tells the New York Times about her latest book, Night Moves. “In some ways the thing that I’m most grateful for about doing this book, is getting to see the things that have progressed and not; the distance that I’ve staked—and not—between my younger, perhaps more idealistic, self and my geriatric cynicism.”

    Literary Hub looks forward to the literary film and television adaptations coming out in 2019, including The Goldfinch, Call of the Wild, and more.

    Civil-powered website Popula is the first US publication to archive an article onto the Ethereum blockchain. “There it will remain, beyond the reach of any adversaries of the free press, for as long as the Ethereum blockchain and IPFS persist,” writes editor Maria Bustillos. “A period which I venture to guess will last as long as the current internet, at the very least.”